Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn says he accepted a “scolding” after he offered four ways residents could prevent themselves from being shot, but he isn’t backing down from his statements, either.
Flynn is no stranger to controversy. His rant in response to a reporter asking about him being on his cell phone during a community meeting regarding the police shooting of Dontre Hamilton, went viral in 2014. Flynn got emotional when talking about the shooting death of a 5-year-old girl and the disproportionate amount of black shooting victims in the city.
But Flynn’s latest comments about “four simple rules for not getting shot in Milwaukee,” weren’t met with universal enthusiasm. He unveiled them at the Mayor’s Ceasefire Sabbath event. The rules were:
- Don’t be part of a crime gang.
- Don’t be a drug dealer.
- Don’t carry an illegal gun.
- If you’re in an argument with a stranger, ask how often they’ve been arrested. If they’ve been arrested more often than you’ve been arrested, concede the point.
Flynn said he was surprised people had taken offense and the rules were meant to show that law-abiding residents had nothing to fear.
Eleven city aldermen responded to the rules by releasing a statement saying, “Milwaukee’s gun violence is far from a joking matter.” The statement was released on the same day a 9-year-old Milwaukee girl who was the victim of a stray bullet was laid to rest.
“I want you to know this is more than just about a soundbite,” Alderman Milele Coggs said during a special meeting of the Common Council’s public safety committee, which was part of an effort to reach out to both police and residents to make the community safer. “It’s about more than just being disturbed by what you said.”
While the police chief acknowledged that he could have been more sensitive, he also didn’t offer an apology.
“I didn’t apologize because my motives weren’t impure,” Flynn said. “I’ve used this as a communication device with many community groups in many neighborhoods without a complaint. So, I’ve got a complaint. I won’t use that anymore.”